Foundations for single storey building: What kind of foundation for a one-story house?

What kind of foundation for a one-story house?

Solid foundations are the foundation of any construction. Are you dreaming of building a single-story house and wondering what kind of foundations to opt for? We can help you decide!

Foundations are the most important structural element of a house. Their task is to bear the weight of the entire building by transferring the load to the ground. They ensure the stability and strength of the walls, and prevent them from cracking or settling unevenly. Foundations should be selected according to the type of structure you intend to erect. Which ones will work best for a single-story house?

Differences between types of foundations

The slab foundation is considered the most favorable type of foundation when it comes to the distribution of stresses under the building. Slabs are used primarily when building on weak soil. This type of foundation allows the weight of the building to be evenly distributed, even if the soil under part of the house, such as in the corners, is weaker than the rest. All that is needed is for the foundation slab to be of sufficient thickness and to accept the additional stresses that result from differences in bearing capacity of the ground.

In the case of traditional foundations, such as footings, the most important role in the distribution of loads acting on the ground is played by the width of the footings, which are located under the walls of the building. If you opt for this type of foundation, you need to make sure that the soil has the right strength and bearing capacity under the entire foundation, so that there is no uneven settlement and damage to the building.

Reinforced concrete piles are a third, also popular, type of foundation. They can be considered so-called intermediate foundations, since their task is to reach those soils that are very deep. On the reinforced concrete piles the foundation proper is poured.

What foundation for a one-story house will be the best?

The selection and design of foundations is closely related to certain guidelines. The first of these concerns the weight of the building structure in question. Heavier buildings interact more strongly with the ground. The weight of a house depends not only on the total area of the house, but also on the building materials used and the number of floors. Single-story houses usually have only one floor, unless they have a basement. As a result, single-story buildings are lighter than storied ones, so they can be erected on narrower footings or thinner foundation slabs.

Another factor we must consider before deciding on a particular type of foundation is the soil and water conditions in the area. We should check the susceptibility of the subsoil to deformation occurring as a result of external loading and the height of the water table. The bearing capacity of the subsoil is closely related to its deformability. Under load, the deformability of the subsoil can lead to ground settlement.

Small deformations do not endanger buildings, but if the settlement is uneven, stresses can occur that will lead to damage to the building, such as cracking of walls. It is also worth remembering that the ground can be stabilized or compacted to some extent with a compactor. Such additional measures depend on our financial capabilities, but above all on the profitability of the investment in question. The cost of foundations for a one-story house without a basement is on average 7 thousand USD.

Chapter 4: Foundations, California Residential Code 2016

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Selection of the foundation for a one-story house

Building a cottage with one floor allows you to reduce the cost of work and building materials, especially when it comes to arranging the base. However, there are nuances that should be taken into account at the design stage so that the resulting building is durable and can be used for seasonal or permanent residence. Let’s figure out which foundation is suitable for a one-story house and what to look for first.

Design options

Before carrying out construction work, it will be necessary to develop individual project documentation. It includes detailed diagrams and drawings of the supporting base. This means that you will need to choose the appropriate foundation option. In modern construction, the following types of structures are used:

Each option has certain advantages and disadvantages that should be considered. Let’s consider each variety in more detail in order to understand the technological features of the construction.

1. Monolithic foundation.

The option that is considered the most popular, as it is durable and durable. It is a monolithic slab, the height of such a foundation for a one-story house is selected taking into account the construction technology and the weight of the frame. The construction of a monolithic foundation is the most expensive, therefore, in the case of a 1-storey cottage, such a solution is not always advisable. However, if you do not want to save money, then you can choose just such a design.

In the case of a monolithic slab, there is no need to equip a subfloor; a warm floor system can be installed right when the base is poured. This solution is suitable for almost any type of soil, it can be deepened even to the full height of the basement walls.

In some cases, a monolithic solution is used to create aerated concrete buildings. The advantage of the technology is that for the arrangement of the foundation, minimal excavation will be required.

Example of slab foundation structure

2. Pile foundation.

The classic foundation on piles is a structure that consists of supports immersed in the ground, interconnected by a grillage. As a rule, the grillage (that is, the upper trim) is made in the form of a monolithic reinforced concrete tape. However, for buildings with a 1st floor, the use of wooden or metal beams is acceptable.

A pile foundation is suitable for a one-story house made of timber or logs; it is also often used to create objects from brick or aerated concrete. The design is stable, therefore it is chosen for swampy, floating or sandy soils.

The installation of piles requires a minimum of excavation, in addition, it is possible to reduce the consumption of building materials. The structure can be equipped at any time of the year, as weather conditions will not affect its strength in any way.

The pile foundation is often used in areas with difficult terrain, since the pillars can be installed at different depths, thereby adjusting the height above the surface. As for the laying of communications, it can be completed after the completion of the main construction work.

3. Strip foundation.

A feature of the base is the arrangement of a tape closed along the contour, which is located under the external and internal walls of the building. Most often, such a foundation is used for a one-story house made of aerated concrete or foam blocks, but other applications are also possible. It is possible to equip a structure with a shallow depth of occurrence (up to 60 cm), then the solution will not only be easy to build, but also affordable.

However, the foundation will require the organization of surface drainage. As a support for the tape, special reinforcement is used, which is installed with the necessary depth. If necessary, you can equip the basement.

The width of the tape is selected taking into account the thickness and material of the walls of the building – it is better if the tape is 5–10 cm larger. The basement part in the standard version has a height of 30–40 cm.

4. Column foundation.

This variety is only suitable for light buildings, so it is not surprising that it is often used in the construction of 1-story cottages. Structurally, the columnar base is somewhat reminiscent of a pile structure. The foundation consists of supports buried in the ground, which protrude about 20-50 cm above the ground level. Supports are installed at all corners of the building, as well as at the intersections of walls and partitions. Additional poles are installed under long sections.

Differences from the pile foundation are that the pillars have a smaller depth and a larger cross section. In addition, two types of foundation are used in different areas. As a rule, a columnar structure is used for the construction of massive buildings or areas with water-saturated soils.

5. Column-strip foundation.

Combined base combining the advantages of two building technologies. The difference in the design is that the supports in it are combined with a tape, and not with a grillage, as is done in the classic version of the columnar base. Such a foundation for a one-story house has greater rigidity, making it suitable for buildings with non-rigid walls. The base will be appropriate in regions with a large depth of soil freezing. Also suitable for building on a slope or on relief terrain.

Selection criteria

Of particular importance when choosing a base is the construction technology used . The depth and thickness of the foundation, as well as the technology of its arrangement, depend on the weight and features of the walls. It is important that the base is sufficiently rigid, in areas with moving soil – it does not slip and does not deform. If frost heaving of the soil is noticed, then this factor should also be taken into account when choosing. Also, one should not forget about ground and surface water, which can become destructive when using piles or poles.

The service life of the foundation must exceed the life of the building, otherwise there is a risk of cracks and even complete destruction of the house. In addition, compliance with construction technology and the use of quality materials are of particular importance.

Also, when choosing a foundation, consider the following:

  • Construction cost . A monolithic slab will cost more than a strip base. At the same time, one should not forget that the foundation for a one-story brick house in any case will require more costs than building the same foundation for a structure made of foam concrete or timber.

  • Ground freezing depth . It depends on the depth of the foundation. Particular attention should be paid to the selection of technology for clay and subsidence soils. For sands, a strip foundation is considered optimal, for sandy loam – monolithic, for clay – a combined version.

  • Water table . When choosing pile and columnar foundations, it is necessary to determine the point of occurrence of groundwater in order to properly deepen the pillars and avoid their destruction.


When designing the base, you need to calculate two main quantities – height and depth. These characteristics can be found by having information about the thickness of the walls and the building materials used.

First you need to calculate the bearing load of the soil on the site. The next step is to calculate the pressure that the building exerts on the foundation. To do this, it is necessary to add up all possible loads: walls, partitions, roofs, doors, windows, etc. After that, the resulting figure is multiplied by 1.4 (in order to understand what pressure is exerted along with furniture and people).

Now you can proceed to the direct determination of the thickness and depth of occurrence. For columnar and strip foundations, everything is quite simple: the selected support and the weight of the building are divided by its bearing capacity. The depth of a strip or monolithic foundation for a one-story house is more difficult to calculate. When choosing a tape structure, the minimum depth should be at least 30 cm (for sand and loam, this figure will be 2–2.5 times greater). It is possible to take similar indicators for a monolithic base, however, with such parameters, its construction will cost more.

A few words about insulation

In most cases, when building a 1-story building, it will be necessary to perform base insulation. This is necessary in order to neutralize the consequences of frost heaving of the soil, since it is in the process of freezing and thawing the soil that its volumes can significantly change. If you perform insulation and prevent freezing of the ground under the house, you will be able to reduce heat loss and prevent the destruction of the foundation.

Most often, for these purposes, insulation is installed from the outside of the structure. Internal thermal insulation is also possible, but it is more often used as an additional measure.

Piles are not insulated, as they go deep beyond freezing, and the pillars are not so deep, so they may need additional finishing. But basically, a tape, a grillage or a slab is exposed to insulation.

As you can see, during the construction process, you will need to take into account many nuances. We hope that you figured out which foundation for a one-story house is better to choose and why you can’t use the standard solution. If you have any questions, DOMAMO specialists are ready to answer them!

What kind of foundation is suitable for a one-story house

Even though one-story houses are lighter than multi-story houses, they still need foundations. A solid support structure will serve as a solid foundation for your home for years to come. Therefore, before erecting a building, it is necessary to decide which foundation is suitable for a one-story house.

Types of foundations

Foundations for one-story houses

Almost all types of foundations are suitable for building a one-story house:

  • strip foundation;
  • column foundation;
  • pile foundation;
  • monolithic foundation.

The simplest and most affordable option is a columnar base for the house. The pipes used for this can be used to build a one-story building on almost all soils and in areas with different topography. Such a foundation can be built on its own; and, nevertheless, it is a reliable foundation for a one-story house.

Please note!
Tape, pile and monolithic foundations require the use of construction equipment.

Tape base

Tape base can be made of different building materials: concrete mix, bricks and blocks. If it is decided to use concrete for the construction of the foundation, then it is required to automate the process as much as possible: the tape base must be filled with the mixture in one go.


Pile foundation requires heavy construction equipment: it is indispensable when installing piles into the ground. However, this method is the most reliable when creating a foundation in the most difficult areas with difficult soil and terrain.


The monolithic foundation is one large concrete “cushion” on which the building will be erected later.

Foundation selection

Soil influence on the foundation

In order to correctly choose which foundation is suitable, you need to know the type of soil on the site. He will determine not only the required foundation for the construction of the house, but also the depth of the foundation.

Among the main types of soils are:

  • sandy, non-rocky: they pass water well, and compact under heavy load. A strip or column foundation is well suited here. The depth of the foundation in this type of soil can be no more than 1 m;
  • heaving, clay: can be significantly washed out by water, and during freezing – swell. For such soil, a solid foundation of a columnar, pile or monolithic type is required. Due to the possibility of swelling of the soil, the depth of the foundation should lie 20-30 cm below the freezing level;
  • swampy soils require an extremely reliable foundation: pile or monolithic. For example, such a novelty as screw piles is suitable here. They are good because they hold firmly even in the most problematic soil, and at the same time give the maximum possible stability to the structure. The depth of the foundation in this case should be greater than in all other cases;
  • loamy soils are intermediate between sandy and clayey soil, so both strip and columnar, and pile foundations can be used here.

Depth of foundation

Depth of foundation on clay soils

Depth of foundation depends not only on the type of soil. Other factors also play an important role, such as:

  1. Groundwater level. The closer to the surface, the shallower the foundation can be installed.
  2. The presence of a basement or ground floor. This requires more deepening into the ground to the height of the basement.
  3. The value of the depth of soil freezing in this area. Depending on the type of soil, this value will be different. Unstable clay soils require deepening the foundation below the freezing level by 20-30 cm in order to prevent the building from moving during frost and subsequent thaw.

Construction materials

The choice depends on the material of the walls

The choice of foundation, its depth and the type of soil on the site clearly affect the choice of building material for the building. Thus, a heavier material, such as brick, requires a greater depth of foundation under the house than a wooden beam.

Necessary conditions

Foundation slab cake


  • Position the bottom of the foundation below the frost depth to prevent soil movement.